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$1.1 billion worth of cocaine disguised as soybeans seized by German authorities

Historic cocaine bust could yield even more

German customs have uncovered more than $1 billion worth of cocaine in a shipping container that originated from Montevideo, Uruguay, authorities said in an announcement Friday. It's the single largest haul of the drug ever in Germany's history. 

Authorities said they confiscated 4.5 tons of cocaine worth 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) after they were examining cargo that arrived in the Port of Hamburg en route to Antwerp, Belgium, two weeks ago. The shipment paperwork claimed it was made up entirely of soybeans, instead, customs found over 4,200 packets of pressed cocaine in 211 sports bags. 

"This outstanding success proves once again how powerfully German customs fight crime," said Rolf Bösinger, the state secretary in charge of customs at the Federal Ministry of Finance. "With sophisticated risk analysis, customs succeed in opening the right containers and extracting illegal goods from the enormous number of containers that pass through the Port of Hamburg every day."

The "enormous" amount seized represents the largest individual security of cocaine in German history, customs said.

The cocaine that was seized has already been destroyed under "strict secrecy and extensive security measures," according to authorities. The previous largest seizure of cocaine happened in 2017 when 3.8 tons were confiscated in three individual seizures.

This haul comes more than a month after a cargo ship owned by JP Morgan Chase with 20 tons of cocaine onboard –– with an estimated value of $1.3 billion –– was also seized.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection said this was the largest vessel ever seized in the agency's 230-year history.

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